We met with M, a small business owner recently who runs a company supplying packing materials to other factories in Penang and Seberang Perai.
During our conversation, she told us honestly that other people had looked down on her and her company especially after she downsized the workforce due to economic reasons about two years ago. She had heard hurtful remarks made about her company and she felt embarrassed, unable to shake off the uncomfortable feelings. She wanted to know what we thought of her situation.
We told her that there is no shame in being small. In fact, turn it around and wear the fact like a proud badge.
Big companies are not always profitable either – they may look good on the outside but who knows what is happening on the balance sheet? It is better to be small and profitable than to be a huge lumbering giant with gigantic payroll and overheads, which at the end of the day eat into the overall profits.
What’s more, being small means being able to handle challenges faster and respond to them immediately rather than wait for ages for the top management to make a decision. By that time, your competitors would have eaten you alive!
Being small enables a company to be agile both in response and decision-making. It makes smart decisions instead of waiting for the layers of management to come to a yes or no.
M listened intently and as she did so, her eyes started to sparkle.
“How come I didn’t think of it that way? Now I know what to tell the auditors who make crass remarks when they come to audit our company,” she said, her voice taking on a happier note.
We told her that we enjoy working with other small business owners too because they are the direct decision-makers unlike corporations which take months to come to a minor decision. Plus, small business owners are better paymasters too.
We’re a small outfit too, we told M and we’re darn proud of it. When clients pick up the phone to call us, they will reach us immediately and talk to us directly.
How many companies do you know out there whose founder and principal picks up his own phone? How many founders or principal can be directly accessed?
In other firms, you’d get the grouchy receptionist who passes you to the grouchier manager who won’t be able to make up his mind because “my boss is not around now and I cannot make a decision”. Hah!
So yes, we are proud to be a small outfit. Being small, we can offer our clients something other lumbering elephants can’t – the personal touch and service.
We can tell our clients directly if something can work or can’t work. We live, breathe and work in this web business and we know our stuff inside out. We are directly accessible and we know each and everyone of our clients well. In fact, many have become good friends too with whom we can have drinks and dinner with.
But once in a while, we do get the odd ball. Someone once asked us about our workforce.
“So, how many staff do you have?” He was curious and wanted to know.
“As many as you want,” we replied.
Because in our line of business, it is not how many staff we have. What? Are we a construction company building houses? If we were, of course having 10,000 labourers would be much better than 10 labourers.
We are in the business of producing business results using the web as a medium. What is needed is not brute force but IQ and logic and business/marketing sense. We can have 100 staff but if they’re as stupid as jackasses, we might as well be better off with none!
So if you are small, NEVER EVER be intimidated by bigger companies.
We small firms are small in size but never small in ideas, personality or successes. Because small is the new big, in today’s era of technology according to author and agent of change Seth Godin over at http://sethgodin.com/sg
Have a fantastic weekend y’all!